A review of Medjugorje Revisited by Dr Pravin Thevathasan
In this well researched study of the alleged apparitions of Mary at Medjugorje, Foley puts forward a powerful case against the authenticity of the visions. However, for the purpose of this review, I will examine the chapter entitled "Medical and Scientific Investigations."
The first psychiatrists to examine the alleged visionaries made the sensible decision to state that there was no evidence of mental illness and they left it at that.
In 1984, Dr Henri Joyeux and his team came to the same conclusion but they made far greater claims. Their work was used to conclude that "no simulation" was taking place. However, one can surely simulate visions without suffering from mental illness. Indeed one of his team did speculate that they may be dealing with deceit. Interestingly, there were no psychiatrists or psychologists in his team. EEG studies were used to show that the alleged visions were not pathological in origin. But such studies cannot rule out the possibility of fraud. An EEG of the alleged seer Marija demonstrates that alpha rhythm predominates from the beginning of ecstasy. But Dr Francesco D'Alpa, a neurophysiologist, is critical of this study and of the EEG, which he describes as of poor quality. He concludes that the study by Joyeux would not have been accepted by a serious medical journal.
Further medical tests contradict one another. Dr Marie Magatti claims that the pupils of the alleged visionaries did not react to bright light during ecstasy. However, Dr Jacques Philipot, an ophthalmologist, states that the pupils continue to react to light during ecstasy.
Most interestingly, Louis Belanger and his team were able to replicate the scientific findings, using a volunteer in laboratory conditions, including non-blinking of the eyes, acceleration of cardiac rhythm and a pattern of continuous alpha waves with the eyes wide open.
There is to be found a certain scientific arrogance in a self-appointed group that claims that on the basis of the psychological tests, it is possible with certainty to exclude fraud and deception. Only one medical sub-committee has been commissioned by the proper spiritual authority and it has made no such claims.
So are the visions authentic or not? Both bishops of the diocese have said not and the case has now been sent to Rome. But one thing is certain: scientific studies on their own cannot tell us the exact nature of these alleged visions.
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Medjugorje Revisited is Demy Octavo size (8.5 in. x 5.5 in.). It has 25 chapters, 371 pages, and a comprehensive index.
It costs £13.95 / $21.95 / €15.95 (= $24.95 including shipping if ordered via 2Checkout.com order page)
Extracts from the proposed book in PDF format, including the table of contents, introduction, sample chapters and the bibliography, can be seen here ...
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